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At the Water's Edge: Book summary and reviews of At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen

At the Water's Edge

A Novel

by Sara Gruen

At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen X
At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen
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  • Published Mar 2015
    368 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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Book Summary

At the Water's Edge is a gripping and poignant love story about a privileged young woman's awakening as she experiences the devastation of World War II in a tiny village in the Scottish Highlands.

After disgracing themselves at a high society New Year's Eve party in Philadelphia in 1944, Madeline Hyde and her husband, Ellis, are cut off financially by his father, a former army colonel who is already ashamed of his son's inability to serve in the war. When Ellis and his best friend, Hank, decide that the only way to regain the Colonel's favor is to succeed where the Colonel very publicly failed—by hunting down the famous Loch Ness monster—Maddie reluctantly follows them across the Atlantic, leaving her sheltered world behind.

The trio find themselves in a remote village in the Scottish Highlands, where the locals have nothing but contempt for the privileged interlopers. Maddie is left on her own at the isolated inn, where food is rationed, fuel is scarce, and a knock from the postman can bring tragic news. Yet she finds herself falling in love with the stark beauty and subtle magic of the Scottish countryside. Gradually she comes to know the villagers, and the friendships she forms with two young women open her up to a larger world than she knew existed. Maddie begins to see that nothing is as it first appears: the values she holds dear prove unsustainable, and monsters lurk where they are least expected.

As she embraces a fuller sense of who she might be, Maddie becomes aware not only of the dark forces around her, but of life's beauty and surprising possibilities.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

Riveting… Gruen's beautiful setting and deeply sympathetic characters ensure a memorable read for new and returning fans alike." - Publishers Weekly

"[Gruen] combines historical fiction, romance, and fable to good effect, and her narrative description is often sublime. ... This ambitious novel is a natural for the book-club set." - Booklist

"At heart, this is an unlikely romance novel. A little too unlikely." - Kirkus Reviews

"A gripping, compelling story ... wholly diverting and well written. I read it in one sitting. ... At the Water's Edge will likely fly off bookstore shelves." - The Boston Globe

"Powerfully evocative." - USA Today

"A daring story of adventure, friendship, and love in the shadow of WWII." - Harper's Bazaar

"A page-turner of a novel that rollicks along with crisp historical detail, waves of deep emotions and a dash of Scottish mystical mythology." - Fort Worth Star-Telegram

"At the Water's Edge captivates with its drama, intrigue and glimpses of both the dark and light of humanity." - BookPage

"If I needed a reminder why I am such a fan of Sara Gruen's books, her latest novel provides plenty. Unique in its setting and scope, this impeccably researched historical fiction is full of the gorgeous prose I've come to expect from this author." - Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of Leaving Time

"Once again Sara Gruen has proven herself to be one of America's most compelling storytellers. You might be tempted to rush to get to the answers at the end—but don't, or you'll miss the delectable journey that is Gruen's prose." - Kathryn Stockett, New York Times bestselling author of The Help

"Gruen is a wizard at capturing the essence of her historical setting, and does so here in spades, but it's Maddie's unexpected transformation that grounds and drives the novel." - Paula McLain, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Wife

This information about At the Water's Edge was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Sara Gruen Author Biography

Sara Gruen is the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of At the Water's Edge, Water for Elephants, Ape House, Riding Lessons, and Flying Changes. Her works have been translated into forty-three languages, and have sold more than ten million copies worldwide. Water for Elephants was adapted into a major motion picture starring Reese Witherspoon, Rob Pattinson, and Christoph Waltz in 2011.

She lives in Western North Carolina with her husband and three sons, along with their dogs, cats, horses, birds, and the world's fussiest goat.

Link to Sara Gruen's Website

Name Pronunciation
Sara Gruen: SAIR-rah GRU-en

Other books by Sara Gruen at BookBrowse
  • Water for Elephants jacket
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